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Friday, March 4, 2011

Hal Gill Shoots, Hal Gill Scores

The last time Hal Gill scored a goal was over a year ago, also in Miami against the Florida Panthers.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is congratulated by Andrei Kostitsyn after a shutout victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night in Sunrise, FLA. Photograph by Hans Deryk, Reuters.

So they don't come often but boy when he scores, he makes it count. Gill scored his first of the season in the 1st period last night and it stood up as the game winner en route to a 4-0 win against the more-AHL-like Florida Panthers last night.

The Panthers have nothing to play for and seemed listless. They had some good chances but Carey Price was once again strong in nets, to record his 7th shutout of the year. A lot of the media were saying it was an easy night for him but I tend not to agree. Okay, it wasn't his hardest game of the year, but he was forced to make some really good saves and if one of those had gone in, who knows what would have happened.

Brother Andrei Kostitsyn continued his fine play with a goal and an assist, playing with Eller and Moen on a line that has peeps paying attention. I guess Martin reads this blog because so far he's taken my advice asking him not to take the line apart. So far, so good. After the game, Martin mentioned Moen/Eller have pushed Kostitsyn (via their play) to give a good effort every night.

To me, it just looks like they're keeping things simple and not trying to get fancy. And I have to say, Eller is looking much more confident these days. He's shown he can play on the defensive side of the puck and that's probably why he stayed with the big team so long. But now he's starting to chip in offensively and this team can sure use it.

Especially when the top 2 lines aren't producing like they should.

The Habs jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the game was even 10 minutes old. Price made some key stops. Vokoun was pulled in favour of Clemmensen and he then let in a softie when Desharnais threw a weak backhand his way. Eller closed off the scoring in the 3rd on a nice tip from a Travis Moen pass.

The bells were ringing in the 3rd too as both Pacioretty (on a breakaway) and Kostistyn rang pucks off the post in a 20 second span.

Tomorrow night should be a totally different story when the Habs face the Tampa Bay Lightning, who always give us a hard time. Time to put the work boots on and put in a solid, blue collar game.

Playoffs!? Playoffs!?

That's right, the dream is still alive for the Toronto Maple Leafs, with an exciting 3-2 victory last night against the Philadelphia Flyers!!!

Is this just an extra portion of Leafland hope the fans have become used to expecting this time of year, only to fall once again flat on their collective faces!? Or is this for real!? Time will tell, but the Leafs are now only 3 points out of a playoff spot, with a game in hand over the 8th place Rangers!!!

But before you pull out your plastic to buy those 1st round tickets, Buffalo is still a point ahead of the Leafs, and they have 3 games in hand over the Rangers. Should be a fun one to watch. I said a few months ago, I would not be surprised if the Rangers didn't make the playoffs and I still could be proven right. They lost again last night and are having major problems scoring goals. But I would put my money on the Sabres, even if they lost last night's first and genuine "biggest game of the year" against the Hurricanes in OT.

On another note, the Bruins won again last night, moving them into 2nd in the Eastern Conference. Methinks this streak will only end to start a losing streak. Anyhow this could be interesting if they somehow avoid the Habs in the 1st round. As it stands now, they'd play the Hurricanes (who are usually tough against the Bruins).

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